Zero, semi productive day

My knees were pretty bashed up this morning, and the right one was noticeably swollen. The guys went ahead without me today which is totally fine, I’ll rejoin them tomorrow.

Got a package from home today which contained my hammock bug netting, the Jacks ‘R’ Better tarp tensioners I’d ordered, a Union Jack patch, and some other goodies – including a small coin-like token with an angel stamped on it; my very own trail angel.

Spent most of today watching TV and resting. I sewed on the patch and it looks great.

Back to resting.

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A “Get Well” note from the Milne-meister

What a nice surprise: an autographed “get well soon” note from former Liverpool player, Wigan Athletic manager, and all round soccer legend, Gordon Milne.

He’s a very close friend of Bucketlist, with whom I hiked through the Smokies; Bucketlist totally hooked me up!

Thanks, brother!

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Jolly back on the Appalachian Trail

My podiatrist called me this morning with the news I’ve been waiting to hear: I can return to the AT and continue with my thru hike.  His ‘all clear’, though, came with some conditions:

  1. I consider switching out my La Sportiva trail runners to a high-top hiking boot
  2. Lighten the load of my pack
  3. Hike at a slower pace and for fewer miles

Now while I’m stoked at the call and the chance to return to the trail, I’m not keen on swapping out my Sportivas – I’d rolled my ankle in my old Solomons which had less of an ankle/heel support system.  After switching to the Sportivas I went three days with no issues – I also wore an ankle brace I picked up from Walgreens.

Over the past two weeks I’ve also managed to get my pack’s base weight down to 11lbs, so even with a fully laden five days worth of food, I’ll be at 20lbs – about 10lbs less than I was carrying.  I’ll also be carrying the load in a much comfier and sturdy pack; I switched out my Six Moon Designs Swift pack for the ULA Circuit – it’s just better all around.

I can also go easier on the miles, too.  I’m convinced that my ankle rolling was a result of fatigue in my legs and feet.  By taking my time and literally hiking my own hike, I’ll be able to monitor my pace and take necessary steps for rest stops and ultimately, round out my miles for each day with more emphasis on recovery.

Just got off the phone with Bucketlist (Mike, Cap’s friend that joined us for the Smokies section) and he mentioned that Cap and his cohorts (Tank and Camel) and slack packing using his truck!  Hilarious.  Apparently it goes something like this: one or two of them will get dropped off at point A while the remaining hiker/s drive north to point B, and leave the truck there.  He/they walk south and handover the keys to the one/s hiking northbound.  When they reach the truck at point B, it’s driven back south to point A to pick up the flip flopper/s and then they either drive into the closest town for a hostel stay; showers, resupply (for real food), and more, or they’ll pitch a tent by the truck and grill burgers – yep, burgers on the AT.  Hope I can catch up to them, that sounds like a lot of fun… although it also sounds it could get expensive with paying for gas and hostels/human food each night.

Anyway, I’m off to C-Town to pick up some pasta/rice sides and spam singles.  I also have to figure out how I’m going to get back down to Greeneville, TN in the next few days.

Foot doctor anxiety

Today is my two week check up with my podiatrist and I’m anxious. The last time I met with him he told me that he wouldn’t recommend a return to the AT for at least two months which was crushing to hear.

My ankle is much better, although there still seems to be a little residual swelling around the joint; I can’t seem to get rid of it, no matter how much icing and elevating I apply.

To be honest, despite what he tells me today, I’m likely to return regardless. I feel like a lazy couch potato and the lbs are coming back, I can feel ’em. I don’t like it, and I’d rather be walking in the woods and set out to accomplish what I started on March 20th.

I feel like a race horse right before the starting pistol goes off.

Seven twenty two

A week ago I was forced off the trail due to a severely sprained left ankle and swollen lower shin muscles/tendons in my right leg (likely the EDL, or tibialis interior).  Taking time off the trail for a rest day isn’t going to mess up your stride too much, but after a week off my feet I’m starting to feel lethargic.

I do love being home and enjoying life’s comforts and my beau, and taking time to heal has been my #1 priority.  The dreams have subsided, which I’m not sure is a good or a bad thing yet: I was dreaming of being on a trail (not necessarily the AT), and they were pretty lucid, but I did enjoy them nonetheless.

The swelling has almost gone and I can walk without pain, but my feet and knees are still stiff in the mornings or if I stand after long periods of sitting down.  I’m no longer limping which is a relief, and I’m no longer popping pain pills – which is even better.

I wish I could take my better half on the trail with me, it would certainly make the decision to return to the AT much easier on both of us.  I don’t want to leave (per se) again, it was hard enough the first time, yet I have a yearning to finish what I started.

On another note, I started my trip weighing in at around 235lbs (total lard arse), and I’ve been watching what I eat since coming home – today I weigh 212.8lbs – for a total weight loss of ~ 22lbs.  I feel great, and I have a level of energy that I haven’t had in many, many years.

Being home has given me the chance to be back with the most important person in my life, and to share my stories and experiences with her has been a treat.  My wife’s support throughout the month hiking the trail was the most helpful, and I’ve realized that she’s been my very own personal trail angel this entire time.  I wouldn’t have gotten out of Davenport Gap if it weren’t for her.

Anyway, back to elevating my foot and my daily dose of HGTV.

Day 5 of recovery

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It’s a gorgeous sunny day here in NY and my ankle is feeling much better. Swelling is reducing each day and my right tendon isn’t tweaking (yet; I’m a realist).

Sat here teaching the missus how to play Texas Hold’em, sipping a Coke Zero, and enjoying the fact that my old clothes fit – amazing how much weight I’ve lost and kept off after “real world” hydration.